Friday, September 16, 2011

Autism & exergaming study!

9-16-11: Just came across this study on autism and exergaming. Good stuff! Check it out:

Makoto on ESPN!

9-16-11: Just rec'd the following from a sure not to miss one of our leading exergaming companies on ESPN!!!!

The new Makoto Arena II is being features on the ESPN Show "Rise UP" on October 4th at 7PM EDT!

Tune in to see how Makoto helped to transform this inner-city Chicago High school and bring a re-energized sense of excitement and enthusiasm to their athletic program.

I had the pleasure of checking the Arena II out just before they started shipping last Nov. on a tour of the Makoto facilities with Marian and Dave. Let's just say they had to clean up the drool from their test unit after I left! LOL!

Kudos to Marian and Dave for getting on ESPN! Hopefully someday, the NAGL Finals will be showcased there. (Put in a good word for us, Dave or Marian!).

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Exergaming getting hot in healthcare!

9-8-11: Taken from Mobihealth....good stuff! Ernie

Video games are hot in healthcare right now
Posted By Neil Versel On September 8, 2011

A fringe topic not too long ago, the subject gained a sense of legitimacy in July, when publisher Mary Ann Liebert Inc. introduced a new journal called Games for Health: Research, Development, and Clinical Applications. The first issue is due out this fall.

That’s right, there’s now a peer-reviewed, scientific journal specifically examining the role video games can play in advancing individual and population health, the healthcare industry and personal wellness. And this week, Liebert announced a companion newsletter called Games for Health Industry Insider, which starts publication on Sept. 29. I can see both titles being good resources for MobiHealthNews.

If you think this is an anomaly or a journal that’s ahead of its time, may I remind you that the Journal of the American Medical Association published a paper earlier this year that said video games deserve “serious attention” in healthcare.

Adding further weight to the notion that gaming can be an important part of healthcare, the University of Missouri just released news about a study underway at the school that incorporates Microsoft Kinect motion-sensing technology to help prevent falls and spot other potential health problems in seniors. A related study uses motion sensors from widely available security systems.

Researchers from Mizzou’s Sinclair School of Nursing and School of Engineering installed Kinect for Xbox 360 in a Columbia, Mo., nursing home and gave wearable sensors to residents to help measure changes in gait, a key indicator of the likelihood of falls. Additional sensors on beds were used to detect changes in sleeping patterns. Alerts get sent to nursing staff when there is a change that might signify a health issue.

“The potential that we’ve learned for early illness detection could revolutionize what’s happening in the way that we diagnose problems of older adults. We know from the research that we can pick things up 10 days to two weeks before critical health-change events happen,” nursing professor Marilyn Rantz said in a video released by the university.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Microsoft itself joined in. On the Microsoft HealthBlog, Dr. Bill Crounse, the Redmond Empire’s senior director for worldwide health, promoted the latest episode of Microsoft Health Tech Today, the company’s online talk show about how the company’s technology is advancing healthcare.

The subject of the newest video? Kinect.

Gaming in health—particularly mobile gaming—also is the subject of a forthcoming MobiHealthNews report. If you recall, Dr. Leslie Saxon, executive director of the University of Southern California’s Center for Body Computing, said last month that she’d like to take a mobile gaming app like Angry Birds and “diabetize it.”

Yes, we’re hearing a lot lately about gaming in health and healthcare. I don’t think it’s a coincidence. Ever since Nintendo debuted the Wii Fit as a fitness tool in 2008, gaming for health has started to break out of a niche and become mainstream. It seems as if we’re now reaching critical mass.

Article taken from mobihealthnews - http://mobihealthnews.comURL to article:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Striiv: a new device that makes daily life an exergame!

9-1-11: A new product, Striiv, which will come out in Oct., is positioning itself as a device to make daily life an exergame! Read about the full report here.

Stiiv is accepting pre-orders now, though when I tried to place mine, I got an error page so I contacted them and hopefully can get it straightened out.

What's interesting is that other than the $99 initial cost for the device, there are no other subscription fees (so far!), so we'll see what other business models they incorporate.

You can check Stiive out at

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New peer-reviewed games for health journal!!!

7-13-11: just rec'd this in my e-mail! Check it out, especially since it seems to get chopped in half here. Then be sure to subscribe!!!

Share this
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., Publishers
Contact: Vicki Cohn
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
(914) 740-2100, ext. 2156
For Immediate Release

Games for Health: Research, Development,
and Clinical Applications
; A Groundbreaking New Journal
on the Applications of Digital Games to Human Health

Journal cover
New Rochelle, NY, July 13, 2011–Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. announces the launch of Games for Health: Research, Development, and Clinical Applications (G4H), a new, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the development, use, and applications of game technology for improving physical and mental health and well-being. The Journal breaks new ground as the first to address this emerging, widely-recognized, and increasingly adopted area of healthcare. Published bi-monthly, Games for Health: Research, Development, and Clinical Applications will be released in fall 2011.

Games are rapidly becoming an important tool for improving health behaviors ranging from healthy lifestyle habits and behavior modification to self-management of illnesses and chronic conditions to motivating and supporting physical activity. Commonly used applications include mobile phone-delivered games that track daily exercise and “exergames” that require physical exertion in order to play (e.g., on platforms such as the Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation Move, and Xbox Kinect). Games are also increasingly used to train healthcare professionals in methods for diagnosis, medical procedures, patient monitoring, as well as for responding to epidemics and natural disasters.

Billions of dollars and immeasurable hours of research and development are being invested in developing and employing sophisticated software and technologies that deliver tailored, personalized game-based healthcare interventions. Games for Health: Research, Development, and Clinical Applications will provide a print and online forum for peer-reviewed research articles, new system and game reviews, field news and reports, convention and event announcements, book reviews, and point-counterpoint discussions to support professionals in the field.

“This research journal will be an authoritative and influential resource for decision makers who purchase, use, prescribe, recommend, design, publish, fund, or invest in digital games for health, and it will serve our research field and its related academic disciplines in many valuable ways,” according to Debra Lieberman, PhD, Director of the Health Games Research national program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “The Journal will be a starting point for anyone interested in the research and design of health games that integrate well-tested, evidence-based behavioral health strategies to help improve health behaviors and to support the delivery of care.”

Forthcoming articles for early issues of Games for Health: Research, Development, and Clinical Applications include research on the effectiveness and design strategies of:
  • Games intended to develop the social skills of people with conditions such as autism
  • Exergames aimed at motivating more activity in physical education classes
  • An alternate realty game designed to increase physical activity
  • Exergames for young adults and families
  • Games to help treat eating disorders and habits such as smoking
  • Games to improve cognitive function in older adults
  • The use of simulations to help develop the interpersonal skills of family members of veterans suffering from PTSD

“The benefits of games for health—from autism to Alzheimer’s to heart disease and other illnesses and conditions—are demonstrating significant promise for improving the way people manage their health and for the delivery of care both in and out of the hospital setting,” said Mary Ann Liebert, president and CEO of Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. “Games for Health: Research, Development, and Clinical Applications is a critical and much-needed forum for this evolving area of healthcare.”

The new journal is under the editorial leadership of Bill Ferguson, PhD with expert input from a diverse editorial board which includes researchers: Debra Lieberman, PhD (University of California, Santa Barbara); Tom Baranowski, PhD (Baylor School of Medicine); Martin E. P. Seligman, PhD (University of Pennsylvania); Adam Gazzaley, MD, PhD (University of California, San Francisco); Peter Bingham, MD (University of Vermont); Barbara Chamberlin, PhD (New Mexico State University); Wei Peng, PhD (Michigan State University); Sam Yohannan PT, MS, (Cornell Medical Center); and many other leaders from the research community. Industry, technology, and other experts on the Editorial Board include Jim Bower, PhD (Whyville), Ron Goldman (Kognito) Benjamin Heckendorn (The Ben Heck Show), Ernie Medina, Dr. P.H. (MedPlay Technologies), Ketan Paranjape BS, MS, MBA (Intel Corporation), Russell Shilling, PhD, Capt. USN (DARPA); and Eric Zuckerman, DO (Pediatric IBD Foundation).

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking; Telemedicine and e-Health; and Population Health Management. Its biotechnology trade magazine, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN), was the first in its field and is today the industry's most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm's 70 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available at our website.

This email was sent by: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
140 Huguenot Street, 3rd Floor New Rochelle, NY, 10801-5215, USA

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Interactive tools for increasing fitness

Check out the latest post on a presentation I did at the recent ACSM Summit in April. You can read about it on my Exrgaming Interventionist blog. (Thx to TEN and Steven Yang for posting!)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Latest CA PE report

Rec'd this from a colleague over at San Bernardino County Public Health, Pam Sampson!

Good afternoon Fit 2Gether partners and LIAs,

Last one for the day. Thought you may be interested in the Health Policy Brief from UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. See summary below, and the policy brief attached or visit, …Pam

FYI: CA recommends 200 minutes/every 10 days for elementary and 400 minutes/every 10 days for middle & high school, but NASPE recommends 150 minutes/week plus one 20 minute recess/day for elementary and 225 minutes/week for middle & high school.


May 2011

Adolescent Physical Education and Physical Activity in California

Allison L. Diamant, Susan H. Babey and Joelle Wolstein

S UMMA R Y: In California, more than 1.3 million adolescents (38%) do not participate in physical education (PE) at school, and this rate increases dramatically with age, from just 5% at age 12 to 77% at age 17. In addition, only 19% of teens meet current physical activity recommendations. Participation in PE at school is associated with more overall physical activity. Policies that promote more opportunities for physical activity, including those that help schools meet or exceed current PE requirements, can contribute to greater levels of physical activity for adolescents.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wrap-up of the 7th Games for Health conf....

5-26-11: Whew! The 7th Annual Games for Health Conf. is now history. And what a conference it was! This was, by far, the best conf. for me personally, on so many levels. Great people, networking, all the sessions, expo tent, new products, after-hour socials, kicking off mobile Adventure Walks and NAGL...the list could go on and on. Even the rainy overcast weather couldn't dampen the excitement that ran through the conference, at least for me.

Maybe it was because I was so dang busy! LOL! Besides kicking off and promoting 2 new start-ups with friends there, I had 2 presentations and was on Team 5METS in competition with a team of young hotshot developers from UC Berkeley, led by just-graduated Ann Beaver and friends. (Ok, we lost, but we did our best and they were great sports. Next year, we'll be sure to take our Ben Gay and Geritol to better our chances! LOL!)

Kudos to Ben Sawyer and Beth Bryant for all their hard work in organizing and putting this conference on. (Hope Beth is enjoying her new MacAir that she received Wed. night for her b-day!) Also great job by Ed Kasanders and Parker Johnson (Motion Fitness) for organizing and running the exergame expo tent. The times that I was there, it was quite busy and people were playing the games and getting involved. (Special thanks for allowing MedPlay Tech's newest employee, Elena Butoiu, to work and train under your guidance. She learned a lot in this intensive exergaming experience!)

I'm going to try and highlight some key things here for me. I've included links below for other wrap ups (as I get them), URLs to pictures, and where you can find the presentations.

If you want to feel like you were there, check out the tweet thread by searching for #g4h11 and see what many of us were tweeting during the conference!

Let me start by talking about some cool innovative stuff I found there that I think you might be interested in:

1. Zamzee - We've been hearing about this HopeLab initiative for a few years now. Well it's about to come to fruition this summer! Check out their website! For those who don't know, this is a kid-friendly accelerometer that is connected with an online incentive reward program. Take more steps, earn more Zamzee points to get prizes!

2. S2H - Here's another accelerometer-based incentive reward system for all ages. I'm wearing the wrist band now and for every 60 mins. of activity, I enter in a code that will help me accrue points which I can use to get prize. Available now.

3. mobile Adventure Walks - We did a demo walk on the Back Bay and it was a blast, even in the rain! Looking for clues and solving the riddles makes this walking app more appealing and inviting. It's not just another tracking device! Sign up for updates at the website, this free app will be available this summer.

4. NAGL - The National Active Gaming League kicked off here at G4H. Still in construction, this league for "active gaming athletes" will provide structure and training to those wanting to be involved on a team and go to competitions and meets. Learn more about this and how you can get involved at our website (a HUGE thanks to Tommy Seilheimer for getting our website up and running the week before the conf!) A drawing for a Xavix Tennis system is still going on today so sign up for our e-newsletter today! (Another huge thanks to SSD's Peter Newman for being the first official NAGL sponsor with this donation!)

5. Positive Psychology - I wasn't expecting to learn something on psychology, but one of the key notes, Dr. Martin Seligman, who is the "father of positive psychology", was awesome! You may be wondering how this relates to games for health...well you'll just have to get his book, "Flourish", and find out! Here's a clue: Jane McGonical is mentioned in the book, so he definitely talks about video games. I bought his book there, he signed it, and I started reading it on the flight home. It's amazing and a must-read! I even ordered one for a friend who was there but missed his talk. You can also go to his website and learn more about positive psychology, take any of his assessment tests for free, etc. Great call by Ben and Beth for being able to get him to speak!

5. President's Council on Sports, Nutrition, and Fitness - While there were many excellent sessions on a wide variety of topics, one that stands out in my mind is the session by PCSNF Exec. Dir. Shellie Pohfl. She talked about how "active gaming" can be used as a tool for increasing movement and physical activity, and that she looks forward to integrating and collaborating more with the active gaming community! Great to have that kind of support from the federal level. Next stop: Let's Move!!!

Motion Fitness's wrap up
TEN blog

PIXS (these are mine from Facebook albums)
Pre-conf (mobile track)
Day 1
Day 2

PRESENTATIONS, search "Games for Health 2011"
TEN presentation

If you have links to more pictures, video clips, wrap-ups, presentations, etc., feel free to e-mail them to me so I can add them to this blog.

Enjoy! Already looking forward to Games for Health 2012! Be sure to save the date: June 6-8, 2012, Boston, MA, Hyatt Harborside.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Can Wii make you fit?

5-22-11: Check out this article that quotes some character named Medina! ;-)

Game Makers Push Fitness - CNBC

Healthy Business — Special Report — Game Makers Push Fitness To Health Clubs - CNBC

5-22-11: A good intro article with quotes from Motion Fitness's Ed Kasanders and researcher guru Dr. Ann Maloney. Glad to see exergaming getting exposure on CNBC! At least they didn't say that exergames were totally useless. ;-)

As for Fuze Fit's Dave Jame's comments on kid's picking the Trampoline over the Wii, it's too bad that they didn't print the rest of what he probably said: that there are a lot of other kids who would prefer the wii over the trampoline!

The bottom line is that we need to use ALL the tools available to us--exergaming tools AND traditional exercise tools--to get kids to move more. Just because some kids choose the trampoline over the Wii doesn't mean exergames are a waste--NO! As long as they are moving more than they were...that's the key!!!

In my experience with the Xrtainment Zone, our kids overweight classes (Family Fit Zone), & our classes at Beaver Med Group, exergames DO reach kids who aren't into the traditional, so I'm grateful we have this tool to use!

Ernie Medina, Jr., DrPH
Exergaming Interventionist

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Can exergames replace treadmill workouts?

5-12-11 Thx to Exergaming Evangelist from Down Under, Brett, for tweeting and posting this on FB!

Heart Rate and Perceived Exertion During Self-Selected Intensities for Exergaming Compared to Traditional Exercise in College-Age Participants

Kraft, Justin A; Russell, William D; Bowman, Tracy A; Selsor, Clifford W III; Foster, Grant D

Check out this just published article in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, March 2011.

They compared workouts on DDR and Gamebike to treadmill and here's what they found:

"Results support that exergames are capable of eliciting physiological responses necessary for fitness improvements. Practitioners might consider exergames as periodic activity options for clients needing motivation to be regularly active."

The evidence just keeps coming out that certain exergames CAN reach the MVPA level!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Military uses DDR to read satellite data

5-11-11: Thx to Dr. Ann Maloney for this link...interesting! Read how the military is using DDR to read satellite images. Click here.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Games for Health conf. less than wk away!

The 7th Annual Games for Health Conference in Boston, MA is May 17-19, now just over one week away!

Over three days we have scheduled over 100 talks covering a complete gamut of opportunities for videogames and videogame technologies in health and healthcare.

Registration fees will be rising soon. Register today and receive 10% off the current ticket price using the discount code BOST11.

To see schedules and register visit:

To see if you qualify for our free pass for sensor-based developers and researchers visit:

Three days featuring 120+ speakers and over 80 talks, two networking receptions, contests, group activities, and more.

  • Day 1 Keynote
    Positive Psychology -> Positive Computing -> Positive Videogames
    Dr. Martin Seligman, The Positive Psychology Center, University of Pennsylvania

  • Day 2 Keynote
    "The Last Mile Doesn't Have to be the Hardest: Solving Problems Between Games and Health"
    Dr. Roni Zeiger, Google

  • Featured Talk
    "Gaming Your Way to a Healthier Lifestyle" by Shellie Pfohl, Executive Director, The President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition

  • A games for health briefing by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

  • A panel on gamification ideas applied to various issues in health, including exercise, and healthy living

  • GameShare - A special project and presentation developed with Ben Heckendorn of

  • To see the latest scheduled sessions please visit:

    For up-to-date conference information please visit:


    May 17: Pre-conference Events & Workshops
    May 18-19: 7th Annual Games for Health Conference
    Multiple tracks of great content including...
    • Open Content Tracks
    • Exergaming & Active Gaming
    • Cognitive & Emotional Health
    • Sensorimotor Rehab
    • Nutrition & Games
    • Social Games & Virtual Worlds
    • Sensor Games for Health
    The 7th Annual Games for Health Conference is just over two weeks away.

    Registration fees will be rising soon. Register today and receive 10% off the current ticket price using the discount code BOS11.

    To see schedules and register visit:

    Founded in 2004, the Games for Health Project supports community, knowledge, and business development efforts to use cutting-edge games and game technologies to improve health and health care. The Pioneer Portfolio of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the lead conference sponsor and a major supporter of the Games for Health Project. To date, the project has brought together researchers, medical professionals, and game developers to share information about the impact games and game technologies can have on health, health care, and policy.

    A major effort of the Games for Health Project is the annual Games for Health Conference. Over three days, more than 400 attendees will participate in over 60 sessions provided by an international array of 80+ speakers, cutting across a wide range of activities in health and health care. Topics include exergaming, physical therapy, disease management, health behavior change, biofeedback, rehab, epidemiology, training, cognitive health, nutrition, and health education. The Games for Health Project is produced by the Serious Games Initiative, a Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars effort that applies cutting-edge games and game technologies to a range of public and private policy, leadership, and management issues.

    Monday, April 25, 2011

    Exergaming in AHA's Circulation journal!

    4-25-11: My job in the clinic doesn't require me to publish like my academic colleagues, so it's cool to see something published that I co-authored with legends Debra Lieberman and Barbara Chamberlin, and others. This particular article contains a summary of exergames, state of field, and future considerations.

    This was published from our presentation during the 2nd day of the Power of Play Summit, hosted by the Amer. Heart Assoc., and Nintendo. (These are pictures from the summit held Jan. 2011.)

    You can check out the actual article here.

    Sunday, April 17, 2011

    Wii board used for kid's rehab walking game

    4-17-11: Check out what engineering and computer sci students at Rice Univ. have done to help kids at Shriner's. They've modded together several Wii Fit boards and created a game to help kids who are getting rehab to walk! Great job to these students!!! Click on the article here.

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Our big conference: Games for Health 2011!

    Anyone and everyone who is someone in games for health will be there--will you?

    The 7th Annual Games for Health Conference is coming this May 17-19 in Boston, MA. The event which brings together a variety of researchers, game developers, and health professionals to review, brainstorm, and collaborate on how videogames, and videogame technologies are finding new roles in health & healthcare.

    There are major tracks on exergaming, sensorimotor rehab, nutrition games, medical training, and cognitive & emotional health. Pre-conference events focus on mobile games, game accessibility, and medical modeling & simulation.

    The opening keynote is Dr. Martin Seligman, widely known as the father of positive psychology. He will deliver a speech titled Positive Psychology>Positive Computing>Positive Videogames.

    If you're interested in this further you can click the following link to read more on the Games for Health website:

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    Girl's BMI doubles!

    4-11-11: A sobering story about our efforts with pediatric obesity in our county (San Bernardino county) and CA in general. Read about that latest pediatric obesity rates in today's story that came out in the San Bernardino Sun here.

    What can be done? Notice how video games" are mentionedd several times as the culprit...unfortunately, it still is in vogue to pick on the "bad video games" and not other forms of sedentary-inducing activities like TV watching, computer usage, even reading (heaven-forbid we pick on that! ;-). Exergaming (i.e. active gaming), of course, can get all these video-gaming couch potatoes active again, especially since many of these kids are not into the traditional forms of physical activity.

    Video games aren't going away, so instead of blaming them, we can use them to INCREASE physical activity in the very population of kids who love video games the most! This is a win-win for everyone.

    Even better, imagine a system, similar to USA Swimming where my daughter, Summer, was on the Redlands Swim Team for 6 years. She trained with the coaches 5x/wk, from 1-2 hrs a day. When she was older, they added "dry land" exercises to augment their in-pool training. She would work on her technique and times, and then once a month, enter swim meets all around the IE. Over the years, she collected hundreds of ribbons and medals which she had hanging on the walls in her bedroom.

    Soon, we will have a similar non-profit org called the National Active Gaming League (NAGL) where we will have teams of kids who will train on various exergames (active video games) to learn strategy and technique, and also train with more traditional forms of exercise to improve their game scores. We will go to local, regional, and county meets, and eventually, national meets (the National Spelling Bee final is on ESPN--why not the NAGL Final?). This will give kids a structured format to train and get exercise, have fun with other kids, and train for a goal of doing their best in tournaments.

    We are looking to launch a pilot of the NAGL this summer, so if any parents are interested in getting their video-gaming kids involved with the NAGL, feel free to contact us at

    By using the "enemy", we can get these rising BMI stats turned around!!!

    PS. In this article, UCLA's Center for Health Research put the blame on, "They blame the increase on youths' sedentary lifestyle, which is often instigated by prevalence of video games and lack of opportunity or motivation to play outside."

    The good news is that new mobile games and apps are being developed that address this! Companies such as Perpetual Motion Partners (PMP) are developing mobile app games that get players walking outside, motivating them with a fun scavenger hunt to play! One example is Mobile Adventure Walks! For more info, a promo video, and updates when the app is available, go to

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011

    Quick trip to San Diego!

    3-30-11: Shortly after lunch, a friend, Megan, and I took a quick trip to San Diego to meet up with the large gathering of exergaming friends from around the world. They had just finished putting on one of the best exergaming workshops for all the PE folks at the AAHPERD annual conference that AM and were now relaxing at Lounge 6.

    Before that, we visited Peter Newman's office to see some of his latest products. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pixs of our visit there so sorry about that!

    Here are a few shots from our quick trip (got back after midnight last night!) yesterday....

    Great seeing everyone, especially Brett from NZ! The next time I'll be seeing them is in Boston for Games for Health. Then, I'll be able to hang out with the gang longer!

    Monday, March 28, 2011

    Exergaming goes mobile!

    Announcing Perpetual Motion Partner's' (PMP) first health game app! View the trailer and go to our website and sign up for the updates. You can also submit an idea for your own adventure trail!

    We're trying to go viral and could use your help in getting our product funded so we can create mobile adventure walks anywhere!

    Know anyone who is into walking? Help us spread it to your network of friends and invite them to sign up for updates as well or to submit an idea for a walk in your area!


    Sunday, March 13, 2011

    LA Times article on exergaming

    3-13-11: nice article came out today in LA Times. Glad George made it in! Check it out here.

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    More proof exergames can reach moderate intensity!

    3-11-11: Over the last few days, I've been excited to see the latest study by Bailey & McInnis, published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, showing that exergames can get players to reach the moderate to vigorous intensity levels, being talked about all over the net. (WebMD, Kotaku, VOA, Switched, Montreal Gazette, MedConnect, Google News listing)

    Exergames can reach MVPA
    This joins a growing body of research showing that certain types of exergames can be used to reach the moderate to vigorous levels of physical activity (MVPA). (See the list of research in The Exergame Network database, the Exergames Unlocked database, and Health Games Research database.)

    Ever since the latest federal recommendations for physical activity came out in 2008, I've been saying that certain exergames can help Americans fulfill these recommendations, so it's nice to see more and more research supporting this this idea.

    We know that exergames can overcome many of the obstacles faced in motivating people to be more physically active. We know that exergames can be appropriate interventions for reaching the PA recommendations.

    Will they keep playing long enough to see the benefit?
    What we don't know for sure yet is if players will keep playing long enough to gain the biometric benefits (reduced weight, lowered BP, reduced blood markers, etc.) those of us in healthcare desire to see.

    Another recent study published online in Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise (MSSE) concluded that " video games can significantly increase energy expended during screen time, but these games are less enjoyable than other more sedentary games, suggesting that they may be less likely to be played over time...".

    NAGL to the rescue?
    This is an organization like the now-forming National Active Gaming League (NAGL) can help address this "less enjoyment" factor and long-term compliance.

    Just like swimming laps during a swim team practice is less enjoyable than playing Marco Polo at a swimming b-day party, organizing teams and training together for upcoming NAGL tournaments can empower kids and adults to "train" on exergames at a new level.

    The structure provided by NAGL can give exergaming teams and "AGAs" (active gaming athletes) a reason to continue to train for the right duration and intensity.

    A Prediction
    Someday, the NAGL will be as effective at getting kids and adults to reach MVPA as the National Spelling Bee is at getting kids to study and compete in spelling. Then maybe someday, we will see the NAGL national finals on ESPN, just like the National Spelling finals!

    Friday, March 4, 2011

    VR tech symposium on DM and Obesity published!

    3-4-11: Last summer, a group of games for health and exergaming colleagues presented at this NIH-sponsored symposium looking at virtual reality technology in research and education on diabetes and obesity.

    Just rec'd the link that the March 2011 issue of the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology just came out so if you'd like to see all the various presentations in articles, check out this link:

    J Diabetes Science and Technology, Vol. 5, #2, March 2011

    Thx to Skip Rizzo for inviting us to present and co-organizing this event. Games for health and exergaming had a lot of presence here at this symposium, and we were able to network and get better acquainted with quite a few NIH folks.

    BTW, my presentation was part of an article by Barb Ruppert (along with Ben Sawyer's presentation), which you can read here in this abstract:

    "New Directions in Virtual Environments and Gaming to Address Obesity and Diabetes: Industry Perspective"
    by Barb Ruppert, M.A.Ed.

    Author Affiliations: Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, Frederick, Maryland

    Keywords: exercise games, exergames, gaming for health, medical virtual environments, virtual reality

    Corresponding Author: Barb Ruppert, M.A.Ed., 271 Crum Rd., Fairfield, PA 17320; email address
    Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology
    Volume 5, Issue 2, March 2011 © Diabetes Technology Society

    Virtual reality is increasingly used for education and treatment in the fields of health and medicine. What is the health potential of virtual reality technology from the software development industry perspective? This article presents interviews with Ben Sawyer of Games for Health, Dr. Walter Greenleaf of InWorld Solutions, and Dr. Ernie Medina of MedPlay Technologies. Games for Health brings together researchers, medical professionals,
    and game developers to share information on the impact that game technologies can have on health, health care, and policy. InWorld is an Internet-based virtual environment designed specifically for behavioral health care. MedPlay Technologies develops wellness training programs that include exergaming technology. The interviewees share their views on software development and other issues that must be addressed to advance the field of virtual reality for health applications.

    J Diabetes Sci Technol 2011;5(2):277-282

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Friday, February 4, 2011

    New article on exergaming!

    2-4-11: Thx to Sir Richard for posting this article in FB. Read this article from the Health Journal and check out my comment after it. Let me know what you think!

    Thursday, February 3, 2011

    Ninja @ exergame presentation!

    2-3-11: For the first time, I really was a "ninja" at an exergaming session last night by Rachel Flynn (no relation to Sheryl), a PhD student in cognitive psychology at a local university (Univ. of Riverside) presenting on exergaming and her study she did last summer with a summer camp back in NYC with George Wa. Univ. and Northwestern.

    It was really strange to be in an exergaming presentation where NO ONE knew who I was! I really felt like a ninja spy. I tried to bite my tongue when she asked if we had any questions, but did pipe in now and then.

    Overall, she did a good job, and in her last slide, she credited Exergames Unlocked and for her resources! Her eyes grew big when I told her I knew Steven Yang well and that I was on the Exergames Unlocked grant! ;-)

    We talked for quite a while after that, and hope to collaborate more with some research, especially involving impact of exergaming, interactive media, and cognition.

    BTW, I was a double-ninja-spy because this presentation was being held in the Health Ed. dept. of a "competing" medical group, Riverside Medical Center!!! I told them afterwards, and they were cool about it. Health Ed folks are a friendly lot, even with competitors!

    It's great to see exergaming research at other local universities and I want to do all I can to support that! ;-)

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    Childhood obesity linked to health habits, not genetics...

    2-1-11:...says a recent Univ. of Michigan study. Check out the full article here.

    “For the extremely overweight child, genetic screening may be a consideration,” says study senior author Kim A. Eagle, M.D., a cardiologist and a director of the U-M Cardiovascular Center. “For the rest, increasing physical activity, reducing recreational screen time and improving the nutritional value of school lunches offers great promise to begin a reversal of current childhood obesity trends.”

    This is a great opportunity for exergames to increase physical activity--both as part of an exercise program and also just overall increasing daily acts of living.

    Sunday, January 30, 2011

    Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world | Video on

    If you don't have time to read the book, "Reality is Broken", then watch this TED video clip on how playing games can make the world better! Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world | Video on

    Tuesday, January 25, 2011

    Ubisoft's Godin on exergaming

    1-25-11: Excellent interview of Ubisoft Montreal game desiner, Nicola Godin, on the state and future of exergaming. Read it here. (Thx to Parker for posting on Motion Fitness's blog!)

    Friday, January 21, 2011

    President's Council on Active Gaming!

    1-21-11: This is the FIRST time I can recall that I've seen active gaming (aka exergaming) blogged about on the Dept. of Health & Human Services website!

    President's Council on Sport, Fitness, & Nutrition's Executive Director Shellie Pfohl recently authored a blog on the benefits of "active gaming" and the intersection between the use of this cutting-edge technology and the national objectives outlined in Healthy People 2020. To read Shellie's blog and/or post a comment, please visit the DHHS blog to read the full article.

    I had a chance to meet with Exec Dir. Pfohl after her presentation during the Fitness Tech session at CES a couple of weeks ago, and we had a good talk about how the President's Council can be more involved with active gaming. (It didn't hurt that I was able to mention that it was our work (Dr. Haddock and I) that got the Wii Sports listed on the President's Challenge list of exercises!).

    We talked about the National Active Gaming League (NAGL), and she seemed enthusiastic about it, so I look forward to collaborating more with the President's Council when we launch the NAGL in May!

    Ernie Medina, Jr.
    Exergaming Evangelist/Interventionist

    Thursday, January 6, 2011

    BullsWhitesox Academy's Vault!

    1-6-10: Check out this video clip from a news station in Chicago on this lastest exergaming vault!